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The futuristic car that looks like a plant

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation rolled out with the design of YeZ, a leaf car that was inspired by the process of photosynthesis.

My Smart Planet colleague Andrew Nusca discussed London's plans to make their iconic double-decker bus more eco-friendly. Today, owning a green vehicle is as dreamy as sporting your own personal jet pack — at least automobile makers hope so anyway.

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation has unveiled a design for the YeZ car, which is aptly named as it means "leaf" in Mandarin.

If you can get past the funky design of the leaf on wheels, the idea of sucking in carbon dioxide, using it for power, and then pumping out oxygen into the air is clever.

Clearly, the design of YeZ was inspired by photosynthesis. However, the technical details of how the car does this hasn't been revealed — so the car is more concept driven than realistic at this point.

Ideally, the car would be powered by the sun and wind:

  • The leaf roof would absorb the sunlight and convert it into energy.
  • The wheels would collect wind energy with its spinning rotors.
  • The metal frame would also take in the sun and turn it into electricity. The excess energy would be stored in a lithium-ion battery.
  • The body of the YeZ car would take in carbon dioxide and water and turn it into electricity.

And even better, driving the car around would clean the air, instead of polluting it.

Don't expect the cars to be sold anytime soon. The design of the car is on display at the SAIC-GM Pavilion, an exhibit which shows what transportation might look like in 2030.

Driving plant-like cars around seems like a good vision to have, as China is struggling with the traps of modern day transport: traffic jams and pollution.

For the time being, putting emphasis on good public transport systems (like London is doing with their double-decker bus plan) is the way forward. In fact, the Beijing Municipal Government and other transport companies in Beijing and Shanghai hope to increase the number of people taking public transportation by 2025.

Plus, there's only so many personal leaf vehicles our world can handle — manufacturing the vehicles will never be as green as growing an actual plant.

Image: Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation via CNET

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com